Papers trying to pre-empt government announcement on runway this week or next week – speculation ….
The Telegraph says that David Cameron could face resignations from senior Conservatives, if he give government support for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The opposition by Boris Johnson is well known, but Justine Greening (International Development Secretary, and a previous Transport Minister) is deeply hostile to the plan because of the likely increase in aircraft noise for her constituents in Putney. However, the Telegraph says Ms Greening declined to rule out quitting the Cabinet if Heathrow was given the green light. She said: “I think that’s jumping the gun and let’s wait and see what the sub-committee comes out with, but frankly I will make sure that I continue to represent my constituents’ concern on this.” Zac Goldsmith, the Tories’ London Mayoral candidate, has promised to stand down if Heathrow is given the green light, triggering a by-election in his Richmond Park London constituency. Boris Johnson said: “The third runway is a sham and a delusion and it will never happen.” The Telegraph says 30 MPs, led by Liam Fox, have written to David Cameron saying they want a Heathrow runway. Their view has been influenced by a flimsy little paper (no date, no author, almost no references) produced by consultants, Quod, for Heathrow – implying huge benefits for the regions.
Tories at war over Heathrow expansion
Thirty MPs demand a green light for third runway as David Cameron faces threat of senior Conservatives quitting if it is built
By Tim Ross and Emily Gosden (Sunday Telegraph)
David Cameron is facing the threat of resignations from senior Tories as his party broke into open conflict over plans for a new runway at Heathrow.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, warned they would fight any plan to expand west London’s major airport.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Ms Greening declined to rule out quitting the Cabinet over the issue.
And, on the eve of an expected decision in favour of expanding Heathrow, Mr Johnson predicted a third runway “will never happen”.
It comes as 30 Conservative MPs have written to Mr Cameron – in a letter seen exclusively by the Telegraph – urging him to “press ahead” now with a third runway at Heathrow.
The Prime Minister has promised to make an announcement on whether to accept independent recommendations for expanding airport capacity in the South East within days. But the new row could force Mr Cameron to delay a decision for months or even years.
In the summer, a government commissioned review, led by Sir Howard Davies, recommended expanding Heathrow – but left the option of Gatwick on the table.
Ms Greening fears that expanding Heathrow would see an increase in aircraft noise for her constituents in Putney, south London while Zac Goldsmith, the Tories’ London Mayoral candidate, has promised to stand down if Heathrow is given the green light, triggering a by-election in his Richmond Park London constituency.
Asked whether she would resign from the Cabinet if Heathrow was given the green light, Ms Greening said: “I think that’s jumping the gun and let’s wait and see what the sub-committee comes out with, but frankly I will make sure that I continue to represent my constituents’ concern on this.”
Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, who attends Mr Cameron’s political Cabinet meetings, said: “The third runway is a sham and a delusion and it will never happen.”
However, in a letter coordinated by Liam Fox, the former defence secretary and MP for North Somerset, Tories from constituencies in the south-west said connections to the capital’s major airport were “vital to our country’s economic growth and prosperity”.
Downing Street declined to comment. A senior source said the decision would be taken in Britain’s national interests, regardless of political concerns.
See earlier: – another letter signed by another 30 MPs ….?
Labour divided as 30 northern Labour MPs back Heathrow expansion, believing it would help their regions
Nearly 30 northern Labour MPs have signed a letter backing a 3rd Heathrow. The letter to Lillian Greenwood, shadow transport secretary, was signed by members of the PLP Northern Group. They include senior figures such as Chi Onwurah, Kevan Jones, and Nick Brown. This may be an indication of the Labour party’s divisions over the issue. Key to David Cameron’s calculations will be whether he can win enough backing in Parliament for Heathrow expansion, given that it is opposed by several of his senior colleagues including Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson and Justine Greening. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are against a Heathrow runway, but it is not clear if Mr Corbyn would order Labour’s 232 MPs to vote against it. If as many as 26 Labour MPs from one region are in favour of the Heathrow runway it suggests that Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell’s views are not shared by all the rest of the party. The PLP Northern Group hope the regions would benefit from a Heathrow runway, and (like everyone else other than a few with the time and abilities to understand it all) have not read the Airports Commission’s papers in detail – showing negative implications for regional airports from a new runway. A rather flimsy paper by “Quod”, setting out predictions of growth and jobs for the regions, is the basis of hopes by regional MPs.
The flimsy little 4 page paper on which the claims of jobs etc is based is by “Quod” and is at
Heathrow to get clearance for runway…but may have to wait a DECADE to start
BUILDING work on a third runway at Heathrow airport will not start until 2024 at the earliest because of legal wrangles, aviation bosses fear.
By GEOFF HO (Sunday Express)
This week the Cabinet is expected to [it is widely expected, but there is no certainty that the government will not back a Gatwick runway] give approval to the construction of a third, northwestern runway at Heathrow, instead of backing the doubling of capacity at Gatwick.
It is believed that Prime Minister David Cameron will attach strict noise and air pollution conditions to the expansion of Heathrow.
In its final report in July, the Airports Commission said that a third runway at Heathrow would cost £18.6 billion in total and that it could “plausibly be delivered” by 2026.
However, airline chiefs and airport operators believe construction work will be delayed because of an “inevitable” judicial review.
Heathrow’s expansion is bitterly opposed by local residents, environmental groups and MPs such as Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson.
So far, the only legal challenge to expansion has been a judicial review claim against the Airports Commission filed by the Stop Stansted Expansion Group, which the High Court rejected in December 2013.
Any delay would dismay business chiefs, who believe [the evidence for that being the case is very weak indeed] the expansion of Heathrow is critical to Britain’s continued economic growth.
According to the Confederation of British Industry, the UK could lose £31 billion in trade by 2030 because of the wait to build a new runway. [Much of that trade is probably imports, the value of which is slightly more than the value of exports through Heathrow. Link ]
Heathrow is currently operating at 98 per cent capacity and says it has had to turn away 30 airlines that wish to start routes or increase the frequency of existing services because of capacity constraints.
The waiting list includes airlines from the Americas and Asia. Rival Gatwick [says it] is running at 85 per cent capacity and at peak hours is often full.
According to Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG), until the expansion of Heathrow is completed, London’s third largest airport will be the key to relieving congestion and catering for growing demand for new routes.
MAG group finance director Neil Thompson says that Stansted has “brilliant potential” and with additional investment, it could eventually handle 45million passengers a year, up from 20.9million in the year to March 31, 2015.
He said: “The economics and the spare capacity are there. If airlines want to fly new routes, Stansted is the only way to go.”
He added that for the UK to feel the full economic benefits of aviation expansion, the Government needs to improve rail links to airports around the country.
Last week MAG reported halfyear operating profits up by 16.5 per cent to £137million, while revenues over the six months to September 30, 2015, went up 5.7 per cent to £445.5million.
Including MAG’s other two airports, Bournemouth and East Midlands, it handled 29.7million passengers, putting it on target to hit 50million for its 2015/16 financial year.